Human trafficking is a $150-billion industry for traffickers, according to the International Labor Organization. New data from the National Human Trafficking Hotline reports an increase in the number of human trafficking cases in both Kansas and Missouri.
Christine McDonald is a survivor now working to raise awareness and shine a light on this dark industry.
"I survived 17 years of my journey here on the streets of Kansas City. I think we believe these things don't happen in our own communities," said McDonald.
Many activists are fighting this industry in different ways, including through film. Anita Cordell is helping start this important conversation through her films with the I Will Rise project.
"It is this bubble we live in that we think it would never happen to a girl next door or a girl down the street or someone that we do not really know, but it is just not true," said Cordell.
Cordell has worked on two films through the 'I Will Rise' project, including "A Dangerous Profession" and "House Mother." Her next script centers around Christine McDonald, a victim turned survivor and activist. McDonald said she hopes to change the narrative in the new film, "Cry Purple." She said it is an important conversation that starts with our youth.
You can help the I Will Rise project by donating to the cause. Organizers are hoping to raise more than $200,000 to begin work on the new film.